Animal Control Ordinances

ORDINANCE 82-4
STANLY COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL ORDINANCE

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF THE COUNTY OF STANLY, THIS FIRST DAY OF AUGUST, 1982, REVISED JUNE, 1987, JANUARY, 1993, JULY, 1999, AND JANUARY, 2001 THAT:

ARTICLE I

SECTION 1. DEFINITIONS AND PROCEDURES

As used in this ordinance, the following words mean:
ANIMAL SHELTER: Any premises designated by the county for the purpose of impounding and caring for all animals found running at large or otherwise subject to impounding in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance.
AT LARGE: Any animal shall be deemed to be at large when he is off the property of his owner and not under the control of a competent person.
KENNEL, DEALER, BREEDER OR PET SHOP: Any person, group of persons, partnership or corporation engaged in buying, selling, breeding or boarding animals.
OWNER: Any person, group of persons, firm, partnership or corporation owning, keeping, having charge of, sheltering, feeding, harboring or taking care of any animal. The owner is responsible for the care, actions, and behavior of his animals.
PET: A domesticated animal kept for pleasure rather than utility.
RESTRAINT: An animal is under restraint within the meaning of this ordinance if it is (a) controlled by means of chain, leash, or other like device; (b) sufficiently near the owner or handler to be under his direct control and is obedient to that person’s commands; (c) on or within a vehicle being driven or parked; (d) within a secure enclosure; or (e) within the property limits of its owner or keeper.
STRAY: Any domestic animal not under restraint and found off the property of his owner.
VICIOUS ANIMAL: Any animal that has made an unprovoked attack on a human by biting or in any manner causing abrasions or cuts of the skin; or, one who habitually or repeatedly attacks farm stock or other pets.
POTENTIALLY VICIOUS ANIMAL: Any animal, which has engaged in one or more of the following behaviors:
A. Killed or inflicted serious injuries on a domestic animal, livestock, or fowl when not on the owner’s property.
B. Approached a person(s), when not on the owner’s property, in a vicious or terrorizing manner. .
C. Repeatedly chase, snaps at, or harasses pedestrians, bicyclists or vehicles.
D. In situations where the animal is tied within 30 feet of pedestrians and the animal lunges, snaps or gives other evidence of attempting to attack humans.
ACTS DEEMED PUBLIC NUISANCE: Any dog that habitually or repeatedly chases, snaps at, attacks, or barks at pedestrians, bicyclists, or vehicles, or turns over garbage pails, or damages ornamental gardens, or vegetable gardens, plan beds, or livestock, or other personal property, or a female dog which runs at large during the erotic stage of estrus.
ANIMAL WARDEN: The person or persons employed by the county, as its animal control enforcement officer(s). The term animal control officer is synonymous with the term animal warden as used in this ordinance.
PROCEDURE FOR DETERMINING A VICIOUS OR POTENTIALLY VICIOUS ANIMAL: The Animal Control Department or any employee thereof designated by the Animal Warden shall be responsible for determining when an animal is a “vicious animal” or a “potentially vicious animal.” The Animal Control Department must notify the owner in writing giving the reasons for the determination, before the dog may be considered vicious or potentially vicious. The owner may appeal the determination by the Animal Control Department by filing written objection with the Stanly County Board of Health or a committee designated by the Board of Health (The Appellate Board) within (3) days. The Stanly County Board of Health or committee shall schedule a hearing within ten (10) days of the filing of the objection. Any appeal from the final decision of the Stanly County Board of Health or committee shall be taken to the Superior Court by filing Notice of Appeal and a Petition for Review within ten (10) days of the final decision of the Stanly County Board of Health with all cost borne by the appealing party. The appeal shall be heard de novo before a Superior Court judge sitting in the County of Stanly. The decision of the Superior Court Judge shall be final. Any reference to a designated time period shall be calendar days. Should the last .calendar day fall on a Saturday, Sunday or a National, State or County Holiday, the first business day thereafter shall be considered the last day.

SECTION 2. ESTABLISHMENT AND COMPOSITION OF THE ANIMAL CONTROL DEPARTMENT; APPOINTMENT AND COMPENSATION OF DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES

There is hereby created an Animal Control Department of the county, which shall be composed of such employees as shall be determined by the Board of County Commissioners. The Animal Control Department and its employees shall be under the supervision of the Director of the Stanly County Health Department. Such employees shall be appointed by the Director and compensated in accordance with the personnel policies of Stanly County.

SECTION 3. ENFORCEMENT

A. The provisions of this ordinance shall be enforced by the Animal Warden(s) of the County of Stanly and the Sheriff.
Sheriff’s deputies, and other police officials of the municipalities of Stanly County, which do not have specific animal control ordinances.
B. To discharge the duties as imposed by this ordinance and to enforce its provisions the County Animal Warden(s) or police officials as provided in subsection where a dog or cat is being kept or harbored and may require the dog’s owner to show its license and proof of rabies vaccination.

SECTION 4. LICENSING

A. No person shall own, keep, or harbor any dog over the age offour (4) months within the county limits unless it is licensed as herein provided. Written application for the license shall be made to the County Tax Collector and shall state the name and address of the owner and the name, breed, color, age and sex of the dog. The license fee shall be paid when the application is made. A numbered receipt shall be given to the applicant, and a numbered metallic tag shall be issued to the owner.
B. The yearly license fee shall be required for each dog over four (4) months of age and the fee shall be as approved by the Board of County Commissioners.
C. Every kennel shall pay an annual license fee as established by the Board of County Commissioners with the exception that any person who operates such a kennel may elect to license individual dogs as provided in subsection (b) of Section 4 of this ordinance.
D. All dog and kennel licenses shall be issued for one year beginning with the first day of January and shall be valid for the twelve-month period thereafter.
E. If the metallic tag issued for the dog is lost, the owner may obtain a duplicate tag from the County Tax Collector’s office for a fee as provided by the Board of County Commissioners.
F. If the ownership of a dog or kennel changes during the licensing year, the new owner may have the current license transferred to his name for a transfer fee as approved by the Board of County Commissioners.
G. It shall be unlawful for any person to use a license receipt or license tag issued for a different dog.

SECTION 5. TAG AND COLLAR

A. When he has complied with the provisions of Section 4 of this ordinance, the owner shall be issued a numbered metallic tag, stamped with the number and year for which issued. The shape or design of this tag may be changed from year to year.
B. Every Owner is required to see that the tag is securely fastened to his dog’s chain, collar, or harness, which the dog must wear at all times unless it is accompanied by its owner or is engaged in hunting or other sport in which a collar might endanger its safety.

SECTION 6. RESTRAINT

The owner shall keep his dog under restraint at all times and shall not permit the dog to be at large. Restraint is defined in SECTION 1 of this ordinance.

SECTION 7. MUZZLES REQUIRED

The owner of every vicious or potentially vicious dog shall confine the dog within a building or secure enclosure and not take it out of the building or secure enclosure unless it is securely muzzled.

SECTION 12. UNWANTED ANIMALS

If an animal(s) is surrendered by its owner to the Animal Control Department after proof or attesting of ownership, it may be placed for adoption as set forth in SECTION 10 of this ordinance without waiting three (3) days or it may be disposed of in a humane manner without waiting three (3) days. Abandoning animals in Stanly County is unlawful and persons doing so are guilty of a misdemeanor.

SECTION 13. DESTRUCTION OF WOUNDED OR DISEASED ANIMALS

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, any animal impounded which is badly wounded, diseased, or seriously ill (not a rabies suspect) and has no identification shall be destroyed immediately in a humane manner. If the animal has identification, the Animal Control Department shall attempt to notify the owner before disposing of such animal, but if the owner cannot be reached readily, and the animal is suffering, the Animal Control Department may destroy the animal at its discretion in a humane manner.

SECTION 14. RABIES CONTROL OFFICER

The Animal Warden is hereby designated as the Rabies Control Officer for Stanly County and shall have such powers, duties, and responsibilities as are provided by the provisions of the North Carolina General Statutes. However, such powers, duties, and responsibilities as the Rabies Control Officer shall not conflict with or supersede the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Director the Stanly County Health Department or rabies inspectors appointed under the provisions of the North Carolina General Statutes.

SECTION 15. RABIES VACCINATION REQUIRED

A. No person shall own, keep, or harbor any dog over the age of four (4) months within the county limits unless it has a current vaccination against rabies (hydrophobia).
B. A rabies vaccination shall be deemed current if a dog over four (4) months old has received at least one rabies vaccination and the next rabies vaccination shall be given within twelve (12) months and shall be valid for three (3) years thereafter.
C. Upon complying with the provisions of this section, there shall be issued to the owner of the dog inoculated a numbered metallic tag, stamped with the number and the year for which issued, and indicating the dog has been inoculated against rabies. The metallic tag shall be affixed to the dog’s collar.
D. It shall be unlawful for any person to use for any dog a rabies inoculation tag issued for a dog other than the one using the tag.

SECTION 16. REPORT AND CONFINEMENT OF ANIMALS BITING PERSONS OR SHOWING SYMPTOMS OF RABIES

A. Every dog or cat which has bitten any person or which shows symptoms of rabies shall be confined immediately and shall promptly be reported to the Animal Control Department, and there upon shall be securely quarantined, at the direction of the Animal Control Department, for a period of ten (10) days, and shall not be released from such quarantine except by written permission from the Animal Control Department.
B. Dogs and cats quarantined under this section shall be confined in a veterinary hospital, boarding kennel, or the county animal shelter, at the expense of the owner; provided, however, that if an animal warden determines that the owner of an animal which must be quarantined has adequate confinement facilities upon his own premises, the animal warden may authorize the animal to be confined on the owner’s premises provided the owner has secure building with locks or a fenced-in area on his premises and the fenced-in area has no entrances or exists that are not locked, and the animal is currently vaccinated against rabies and has a license tag as required by SECTION 4 of this ordinance. If the animal is confined on the owner’s premises, an animal warden shall revisit the premises for inspection purposes at approximately the middle of the confinement period and again at the end of the confinement period. If the ten (10) day confinement period expires on a holiday or weekend day the period shall be extended to the next regular workday.
C. Any person owning an unvaccinated animal that exposes another person or animal to rabies shall be responsible for all costs incurred relating to required medical treatment of exposed humans and confinement of exposed animals.

SECTION 17. VICIOUS OR POTENTIALLY VICIOUS ANIMALS

A. It shall be unlawful for any owner to keep any vicious or potentially vicious animal within the County unless it is confined within a secure building or enclosure or unless it is securely muzzled and under restraint by a competent person who, by means of a leash, chain or rope, has such animal firmly under control at all times.
B. The secure building or enclosure shall be enclosed as a permanent structure with dimensions of at least 10x10x6 feet designed to restrain the vicious or potentially vicious animal. Or the secure building or enclosure may be an outside lot or pen with dimensions of at least 10x10x6 feet with at least 6-gauge wire and S-20 framing at the top, sides, and bottom of the structure. Or if the structure doesn’t have a bottom, it shall have at least 6-gauge wire buried at least two feet underground from the sides of the pen or lot. The door or doors of the secure building or enclosure must have secure locks on them at all times the animal is within the structure and not under control of its owner as outlined in item A. of this section. The Animal Control Officer may approve in writing other structures that will appropriately confine the animal.
C. The owner of any animal determined to be vicious or potentially vicious pursuant to this ordinance shall have 30 days from the date of notification by the Animal Control Officer to provide a humane and secure enclosure as defined in item B. of this section. During this period the animal shall be under the constant restraint on the owner’s property as defined in item A. of this section.
D. If the owner of any animal determined to be vicious or potentially vicious pursuant to this ordinance transfers ownership of the animal, the original owner shall give written notice of the transfer to the Animal Control Department and shall, prior to the transfer, inform the new owner that the animal has been declared to be vicious or potentially vicious by the Animal Control Department.

SECTION 18. TEASING AND MOLESTING

It shall be unlawful for any person to tease, bait, or in any manner antagonize any dog or other pet not belonging to him or under his legal control.

SECTION 19. ANIMALS CREATING A PUBLIC NUISANCE

A. It shall be unlawful for any owner to permit an animal to run at large, if such animal is reported as creating a public nuisance and an animal warden determines after investigation, that the report is supported by the evidence. The owner must keep the animal that has been found to be creating a public nuisance on his property at all times, unless the animal is under restraint as provided by SECTION 1 and 6 of this ordinance.
B. For the purposes of this section, public nuisance includes, without limitation, the following: Animals that habitually or repeatedly chase, snap at, attack, barks at or harass pedestrians, bicyclists or vehicles, or tip over garbage pails, or damage gardens, flowers, or vegetables, or in the case of a female animal, one that is allowed to run at large during estrus.
C. The owner shall confine any female dog in estrus within a building, lot or enclosed area in such manner that the dog will not be accessible to other dogs except for planned breeding and will not attract male dogs.
D. It shall be unlawful for any dog owner in the county to keep or have a dog that habitually or repeatedly barks in such a manner or to such an extent that it is a public nuisance. Person(s) lodging such complaints will be responsible for filing the complaint with the appropriate judicial authority.

SECTION 20. USE AND DISCHARGE OF FIREARMS BY COUNTY ANIMAL WARDENS

A. Animal Warden(s) is authorized to carry such firearms as may be deemed necessary to perform the duties required by provisions of this ordinance and policies established by the Director of the Stanly County Health Department.
B. Animal Warden(s) shall exercise due caution and prudence in the use and discharge of firearms within the county limits. Firearms may be used within the county limits by Animal Wardens to capture or destroy an animal only after all other reasonable means have been exhausted. Animal Warden(s) shall not discharge firearms in the direction of dwellings, people, livestock, highways, street, or thoroughfares.
C. Each Animal Warden assigned to the Stanly County Animal Control Department shall complete an eight hour firearms qualification course as soon as practical after appointment and annually thereafter. The senior animal warden assigned to the Animal Control Department shall be responsible for maintaining liaison with the County Sheriff’s Department in arranging for this training. A passing score of seventy (70) shall be required of each animal warden. A copy of evident of satisfactory completion of this course shall be placed in each animal warden’s personnel file. Cost of the course including tuition, supplies, travel and lodging will be paid by the county.

SECTION 21. INTERFERENCE WITH ENFORCEMENT

A. The County Animal Warden(s) shall be sworn officers and shall be responsible for the enforcement of this ordinance within Stanly County.
B. It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with, hinder, or molest any employee of the Animal Control Department or its agents or animal warden(s) or veterinarians in the performance of any duty authorized by the provisions of this ordinance, or to seek to release any animal in the custody of such agents, except as otherwise specifically provided.

SECTION 22. DAMAGE, DESTRUCTION, AND/OR THEFT OF COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL PROPERTY

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to damage, destroy, or pilfer property belonging to the Stanly County Animal Control Department. Violators will be cited and fined in accordance with the provisions of SECTION 27 of this ordinance to include the cost of replacement or repair of the damaged, destroyed, or stolen property.
B. The County Animal Warden(s) may upon the request of a responsible adult, place and set an animal trap upon property located within the county which is owned or controlled by the individual making the request, if the trap is available and is deemed to be an appropriate measure by the animal warden(s). The persons requesting the animal trap will be required to sign a written agreement authorizing the Animal Control Department personnel to enter the property at all reasonable hours for the purpose of placing and setting the trap; retrieving trapped animals from the trap; and removing the trap from the property. The person requesting the animal trap will be responsible for damage to or loss of the trap. No animal trap will be placed upon property located within the county without the written consent of the owner or person in control of the property.
C. A citizen may petition the Stanly County Board of Health for a hearing to determine the circumstances regarding an exemption of payment for the loss or damage of animal traps. The Board of Health may determine the extent of non-intentional loss, destruction or damage to traps, including any lack of negligence. The Board may relieve the citizen of any financial responsibility, the burden of proof however, will be upon the citizen to show that the loss was not the result of negligence or intentional loss, damage or destruction. The citizen may appeal any adverse decision of the Board of Health within ten (10) days to the Stanly County Board of Commissioners for a hearing de novo. Any person assessed a monetary obligation regarding the loss of a trap must provide the required monetary restitution within thirty (30) days of the written demand by the Stanly County Animal Control Department. Any violator will be cited and fined in accordance with the provision of SECTION 27 of this ordinance to include the assessed monetary restitution.
D. The County Animal Warden(s) shall not place or set animal traps for normally feral animals.

SECTION 23. SCHEDULE OF FEES FOR THE STANLY COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTER

A. In order to avoid costly revisions of this ordinance, animal taxes and the fees applicable to the various sections of this ordinance shall be prepared and listed on a separate schedule as approved by the Board of County Commissioners. A copy of the approved fees and animal tax schedule will be available for review at the Stanly County Animal Shelter, the Stanly County Health Department, and the Stanly County Tax Collector’s Office. A copy of the approved animal tax and Stanly County Animal Control Department fee schedule may also be obtained at the above places during normal working hours.
B. The Director of the Stanly County Health Department will review the fees authorized at least annually and will make recommendations for changes to the Board of Health for consideration by the Board of County Commissioners.

SECTION 24. RECORDS TO BE MAINTAINED BY ANIMAL WARDEN

A. The Animal Warden shall keep or cause to be kept accurate and detailed records of the licensing, impoundment, and disposition of all animals that come into his custody.
B. The Animal Warden shall keep or cause to be kept accurate and detailed records of all bite cases reported to him and his investigation of these bites.
C. The Animal Warden shall keep or cause to be kept accurate and detailed records of all monies collected by him under SECTION 4 and 25 of this ordinance. A pre-numbered receipt will be issued for all monies collected and a duplicate of the receipt will be maintained for inspection and audit purposes. These records shall be open to inspection at reasonable times by whoever is responsible for similar records in the County of Stanly and shall be audited by the County of Stanly annually in the manner as other county records are audited, as may be prescribed by competent authority.

SECTION 25. VIOLATION AND PENALTY

A. Any person who violates any provision of this ordinance shall be deemed guilty of, a misdemeanor and may be punished by a fine not to exceed $100 and/or up to thirty (30) days in jail for each violation and may be required to pay taxes and applicable fees, and such penalties and/or court costs as may be imposed’ by the court. If the violation is continued, each day’s violation shall be a separate offense.
B. Any animal warden, sheriff, deputy sheriff, police officer or other law enforcement officer of Stanly County jurisdiction is empowered to secure an arrest warrant against the person and to issue written notices of violation of this ordinance. (Except when required by North Carolina General Statutes, and when violators are involved in abuse, cruelty or neglect of animals or damage to personal property, a notice of violation or warning shall not be required and shall not be deemed a condition precedent to securing an arrest warrant.)
C. A written notice may be delivered in person or mailed to the person alleged to be in violation of this ordinance. Such written notice shall state the specific violation(s) of this ordinance or other applicable law and shall direct the violator to provide proof of compliance with this ordinance to the Stanly County Animal Warden within seventy-two (72) hours after the time the notice is issued or by the next regular workday if the period ends on a holiday or weekend. If the violator does not correct said violations and provide proof of such compliance with this ordinance within said seventy-two (72) hour period, the Animal Warden or other law enforcement agent may secure an arrest warrant against such person for violation of this ordinance.

SECTION 26. EXEMPTIONS

A. The licensing requirements of this ordinance shall not apply to any dog that belongs to a nonresident of this county and kept within the County limits for not longer than thirty (30) days, if it is at all times kept within a building, enclosure or vehicle, or under the restraint by the owner as provided in SECTION 1 and SECTION 6 of this ordinance.
B. Hospitals or clinics and other facilities operated by veterinarians licensed in North Carolina for the care and treatment of animals are exempt from the provisions of this ordinance, however, full cooperation from these professionals is expected in any case involving rabies or suspected rabies.
C. Dogs that are being used for law enforcement purposes-carrying out official duties-shall not be considered vicious or potentially vicious animals.

SECTION 27. REPEALS

All other ordinances of Stanly County in conflict herewith are repealed to the extent of such conflict.

SECTION 28. SEVERABILITY

If any part of this ordinance is held void, it shall be deemed severable and the validity thereof shall not affect the remaining parts of this ordinance.

SECTION 29. EFFECTIVE DATE

This ordinance passed on first reading, July 6,1982; passed on second reading, July 19, 1982; and to become effective August 1, 1982. Revised June 22,1987, January 18, 1993, July I, 1999, and January 22, 2001.